Here at The Kimono House, we pride ourselves in teaching an international clientele about Japanese culture and the art of wearing kimono.
The most basic breakdown of traditional Japanese dress is:
- yukata (summer cotton dress)
- informal kimono
- homongi (solid colored kimono with patterns concentrated on two areas)
- furisode (longest sleeved kimono)
- hakama (pleated skirt-like pants)
First, we'll start with the simplest: Yukata
Yukata: A Brief History
Yukata 浴衣 is said to be a shortening of yukatabira 湯帷子, an unlined hemp kimono. Starting as bathing clothes in the Heian Period (794 CE), it transformed into a robe to dry sweat after a bath, to popular home wear of the mid-Edo Period that gradually became casual outing wear.
Two events in the Edo Period (1603-1868) prompted the omnipresence of the yukata(bira). One was that under the Tempo Reforms, lower social classes were forbidden from wearing the more expensive silk and bright colors, so they turned to linen and the newly successfully cultivated cotton for fabric. Luckily, indigo dye was allowed to be used. It did not only give clothing a bold look but also acted as an insect repellant, making it explosively popular to wear during summer nights. The Tempo Reform ban birthed many new chic patterns derived from popular culture that became loved by city folk.
The other event was the popularization of public bath houses. With this, common people started using yukata as a bathrobe that could be worn in public to and from a bath house and eventually as everyday summer clothes.
Even as Western clothing gained popularity, yukata continued to be indispensable sleepwear. After WWII, they met their rapid decline. But in the 2000s, traditional clothing made a comeback. A second hand kimono boom occurred among women, the yukata appearance at summer events was revived, and men also began to wear them again. Nowadays, the number of reasonably priced items is increasing, and we have returned to an era where we can easily enjoy yukata.
credit: Men's Non-No
Coming soon: About Homongi
About Geta/Zori Sandals
How To Wear
The straps of new geta often feel too tight. The best way to make them comfortable is to wear the geta until they form to your feet. However, to make new ones more wearable you can do the following.
- Slip straps through fingers as you would wear on your feet and push knuckles up.
- Slip thumbs through heel end of straps and push up.
- When worn, the heel should stick out about 1 cm (0.5in).
- Take care on slippery surfaces like marble and tile - especially wet ones.
- Regardless of use frequency, through the years colors can fade and the strap can become distressed.
- Dry well after getting wet.
- Keep out of direct sunlight in a well ventilated place to prevent mold and discoloration etc.
- differences between yukata and kimono
- basic items required to wear a yukata
- video of how to put on yukata (men & women)
updated Sept. 11, 2021